Liberal's Tony Martinez poses on stage with Teamsters’ President, Jimmy Hoffa Jr., during the recent convention in Las Vegas. Courtesy photo
• L&T staff report
Local union representative and state delegate Tony Martinez, Liberal, who is with Union Pacific Railroad, recently travelled to Las Vegas for the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Convention to elect a president of the railroad division.
“This is what I went to Vegas for with the delegates for Kansas – our local lodge No. 1254 – to vote for the president of the railroad division of the Teamsters,” Martinez explained.
While at the convention, Martinez got to meet with Jimmy Hoffa, Jr., who is the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
“Yeah, I got to visit with him, and he actually ask me to come up on stage with him at one point,” Martinez said.
More than 400 delegates representing the members of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes continued their third Regular Convention. The delegates and guests filled the convention hall to hear keynote speeches by Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa, Teamsters Rail Conference President Dennis Pierce and Teamsters Rail Conference Director John Murphy.
Hoffa, the keynote speaker, brought greetings from the 1.4 million brothers and sisters of the Teamsters and congratulated the BMWED on the 10 year anniversary of the merger.
“It’s been 10 years since the merger, and it has made us both stronger,” Hoffa Jr. said. “My father, James R. Hoffa, had a vision that the Teamsters would be the largest transportation union in the United States. And, when you joined as part of the Rail Conference, we accomplished that goal. We now represent hardworking employees at the ports, on the rails, on the highways, and in the air.”
The Director of the Rail Conference, John Murphy, told the delegates of the many accomplishments the Rail Conference has made: bargaining national contracts, publication of the High Alert rail safety reports and working together with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen to fight for funding in Congress for High Speed Rail.
“The California High Speed Rail project will, once funded, provided 20,000 full-time jobs during construction and 450,000 jobs when the project is up and running,” Murphy said.
Dennis Pierce, President of the Rail Conference and the President of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainman, a division of the Teamsters Rail conference, also told the BMWED delegates how important they were as part of the Rail Conference.
“I thank the members of the BMWED for the fighting spirit you bring to the Rail Conference. This spirit is needed as we fight back against the War on Workers that is before us,” Pierce said.